NEW affordable housing planned for the site of a social club set to close would create a “pressure-cooker environment”, the developer has been told.

Kearsley Social Club in Manchester Road is set to permanently close after 127 years and a housing association wants to use the into 24 self-contained flats.

Bolton At Home would provide afforable housing at the site if the plans are approved – but the planning committee, which was due to make a decision about the development on Thursday, has told the developer to improve its bid.

Kearsley councillor Mark Cunningham told the committee that the new flats would be built below national space standards with inadequate amenity, no children’s play area, road safety issues and damage to mature trees.

He said: “This pressure cooker environment has got the potential to create tension and social unrest that could all too easily ferment into anti-social behaviour, domestic violence and abuse.

“There’s no play area for children and the mitigation offered in the report, that the development is within six minutes’ walk from Kearsley Park, just doesn’t cut the mustard.

“Anybody with local knowledge knows you do not go to Kearsley Park, even in daylight, if you can help it. I was there recently for a meeting at the bowling club. We had to get the police out with off-road bikers cutting it up.

“It’s not safe to walk in so they won’t have the use of that amenity.”

Fellow ward councillor Paul Heslop also highlighted “significant shortfalls” in the application for new accommodation and called for a local lettings policy.

He said: “Bolton At Home doesn’t have adequate communal facilities for these tenants. There are no civic facilities in Kearsley, no library, no health centre, no sports’ centre, as these have all been torn down and the land has been sold off. The only possible places for any sizeable public meeting in the town of 14,000 are our churches.”

Both councillors asked why the developer would not offer money known as Section 106 contributions just because the housing would be affordable.

Cllr Heslop suggested that this could pay for a “makeover” of Kearsley Park.

Mark Harrison spoke on behalf of architects TADW Ltd at the meeting.

He said: “The new apartments will be made available for the local community as affordable homes through Bolton At Home.

“They will be high-quality, desirable dwellings which will bring a stylish contemporary feel to Manchester Road.

“The building will include high levels of insulation in the structure which will translate into low energy bills for future residents.

“Ample parking area is provided and the landscape grounds will be supplemented by balconies and patios.

“The development is financially supported by Homes England and will thus bring further investment into the local area.”

But the committee voted to defer its decision and asked the developer to address the concerns of Kearsley councillors made at the meeting.

Cllr Debbie Newall suggested this could be addresed by reducing the number of flats by three or four to create more amenity space for future residents.

She said: “I welcome housing in Kearsley and I welcome this kind of housing.

“One-bedroom apartments, two-bedroom apartments. They are welcome.

“But I do think with a bit more thought, you could tick a few more boxes with this application.”